Lioness hunt in Berlin called off after evidence suggests it is a wild boar

Authorities are looking for the animal, believed to be a lioness (picture is not the animal in question). Credit: AP/DPA and PA

Authorities say there is “no acute danger” to people in an area on the edge of Berlin where a potentially dangerous animal was spotted, saying they no longer believe that a lioness is at large.

A search turned up no sign of such a predator and experts who analysed a video of the mystery animal have concluded that it may have been a wild boar.

Police were first alerted to the animal in Kleinmachnow, just outside Berlin’s city limits, around midnight on Wednesday when people reported what appeared to be a big cat chasing a wild boar.

Based on that and a subsequent sighting of their own, police initially concluded that the animal was apparently a lioness. More than 200 German police officers had been involved in a search for the animal.

Despite the extensive search that went on through the night with officers using night vision goggles to try and find the animal, no trace of it had been found.

Mayor of Kleinmachnow Michael Grubert "it can't go on like this for days", when referencing the large-scale operation and extra precautions the public is being asked to take.

Kleinmachnow is a municipality in Berlin's southern suburbs where sightings of a lion were first reported.

Residents around Kleinmachnow, Teltow and Stahnsdorf were asked on Thursday to bring their pets inside and stay with them as a search team tries to track the “escaped wild animal” down.

The warning was later extended to southern areas of Berlin and an alert was sent on an official warning app that the animal was suspected to be a lioness.

A vet and two hunters were part of the search team, which also involved helicopters.

Neither of Berlin's two zoos nor any circuses or animal shelters in the area were missing a lioness.

Two men reported seeing a big cat running after a wild boar, the latter common in and around Berlin, police spokesperson Daniel Keip told local public broadcaster RBB.

“The two gentlemen recorded a smartphone video, and even experienced police officers had to confirm that it is probably a lioness,” he said, adding that there were various reported sightings.

Veterinarian Achim Gruber from Berlin's Free University expressed doubt it was even a lion.

Speaking to Berlin broadcaster RBB on Thursday evening: "I think it is possible that this is a lioness, but I am not convinced of it.

"There are many arguments for it being a lioness" but added, "the final proof is still pending for me."

On Thursday Police increased their presence in the Kleinmachnow area and warned people of the possible danger by loudspeaker, but there was no order to stay indoors.

The local council said that child daycare centres were open, but children weren't being allowed into their outside areas, and the town hall remained open.

Traders at the town's market were recommended not to set up stalls.

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